Look what I picked up at the second hand shop…this. I saw it laying there under a pile of mismatched items. It was the baby blue that caught my eye. This used to be a very popular color in my home as a child. It was my father’s favorite color. We had a baby blue kitchen, a baby blue truck and several other items throughout our home, all baby blue.
When I pushed my cart down the isle and saw that color I stopped to check it out. Curious to see if maybe somehow one of my items from the past ended up on a thrift store shelf. Have any of you ever felt that way when out there shopping in your area?. We have donated enough over the years that it is possible that eventually one of our items will meet us again. We’re all just renting products in way if you think about it.
When I pulled this item off the shelf I knew it wasn’t something I ever had. My daughter was standing around me at that moment so I turned to her to show her. Usually, if our grown kids are with us they go to their own sections in the store to explore.
“ I think this would be perfect for your dad’s green gift this year” then I handed her the little piece of art I found.
She smiled and said that he would love it. My husband’s favorite section at the Heard museum is the Inuit art section. He loves the little carved Eskimos and the beautiful hand made robes with so much detail. His favorite animal is the polar bear and he also loves whales and dolphins. This treasure had all of that and more. The best was yet to come though and that is in it’s story. For all pieces out there have a story to tell, the old ones that is.
For any of my followers that may be new, the green gift in my family is a gift we buy each other every year. It’s either a recycled/upcycled item or something used.
Sometimes out in the world when we pick up an item you can almost feel the love that someone had for that item, or the time they put into making it…this is such an item. Whoever did this, did it with time, and patience. They loved making it. Look at the detail. And whoever owned it, displayed it with love as well…they were very proud of this little piece of work. The painting had a story, I just knew it and couldn’t wait to get home and research what I could to find out about it.
It always helps if a piece has a tag or marking of such. There was a piece of tape that had some hand writing on the back that said $12.00 Baleen, yo (to) annie Bolt. I started with this bit of information first.
I couldn’t find anything under Annie bolt, or Jo Annie Bolt or Yo, or to annie Bolt…you get the point. But I had a little lesson on what Baleen is. It’s a filter-feeder system inside the mouths of Baleen whales. It’s made out of Keratin, the same protein that makes up human nails and hair. It’s found in the jaws of large whales. That info. Came straight from the net.
Baleen plates are often shed by whales or released after their death. They are usually harvested for use in art and some consumer goods. It’s legal to sale but under a handful of guidelines in the U.S. You have to be a minimum of one-quarter Alaskan native in order to sell baleen crafted items, and only as “Authentic Native Articles of Handcraft”. Mostly they sell woven Baleen baskets that range in prices of $500-$3,000.
Baleen used for artistic purposes is dyed a deep black color. That would explain the color on the back of this piece not being white.
Transporting baleen pieces across international borders often leads to confiscation because of the strict rules with art pieces from whale in other countries.
Okay, so I learned a little about whales, but who painted this piece?, was it the sister or was it the brother Richard?. This story goes everywhere when it came to what I was about to discover. I had that address scratched into the Baleen and that is where I went next, which also would get me the most information on this piece.
Richard Wegruk Bolt Jr. Was born on July 10th 1941 and he died at the age of 48, but I don’t know what from. What I learned from him came from a letter I found online that a friend wrote to Richard’s sister years ago. In that letter he wrote:
“ You will be able see that he was a man of great faith and a person the knew that our Heavenly Father is aware of us and answers our prayers. I will tell you how I met Richard and tell you of a special experience I had with him.”
The friend goes on to write in the letter how they met when they were both members in training for the Alaska national guard. He went on to write that they met up again years later and attended church together one day. After the ceremony they would listen to the youth share their testimonies and then driving Richard home he would hear Richard’s testimony that night on the way back to Barrow.
Richard had a lot to say. He talked about being born blind, and how his mother taught him how to pray. One day he was able to see at the age of 6. He ran around shouting, running and jumping letting everyone know he could see and how happy he was that his prayer was answered.
The second prayer answered was when him and his little sister almost drowned when they fell in the ice with their dogs and sleigh. He started praying and him and his sister were able to get out alive. I wonder if this painting in a way represents those dogs and that sleigh.
The sister replied back to the friends letter and wrote about how her brother used to hit his face all the time because he was partially blind. He was so happy when he got his eye sight.
Anyway, it is a long detailed letter that I hope you click on to read, it even comes with a photo. I found a true treasure in this months thrift store purchase.Everything ties in with that letter, the scratched in address with Richard’s name, and the date of 1972. But it’s the story behind the power of prayer that was the best gift I received when I decided to pick this item off that shelf. Now it hangs up once again on display to share with everyone. Hope you all enjoyed this one, happy second hand shopping everyone.
Extra info- The friend who wrote the letter to Richards sister was also named Richard. He lost contact with Richard Bolt Jr in 1976 when he moved from Anchorage Alaska. This painting of mine has a date on it of 1972. so it ties in some more with the story behind the piece.
Just wanted to also let any of my followers know that I was having some problems with commenting and replying to comments a couple days ago, not sure what I did but something was up. I couldn’t even get the like key to register on some blogs. It is cleared up now, just cleared up on it’s own I guess. So if I don’t reply to comments anytime in the future it’s either because I am up north where we have no internet and sometimes no phone service or I am having technical problems of some sort, which I know nothing about. I pre-schedule most of my posts so there are times I am not here in the city. Thank you for your likes, comments, and follows. Have a beautiful day where ever you may be at this moment.